Friday, September 13, 2019

Traveling the Oregon Trail

Hello, cousins!

Apparently, I have made a grave mistake. (Pun incidental...)

About this time last year, I published a series of posts about the descendants of an Elizabeth Callen, who I believe to be the daughter of James Callin. For your convenience, here is the series, so far:

But somehow I forgot to keep going! Those posts only traced the descendants of Elizabeth's first daughter, Mary, but Elizabeth had five children, which means I owe you a few more posts. In fact, as I've begun preparing these, I have discovered that this family is larger than I first thought, and putting their stories together has been taking longer than usual. This means I'll be giving you shorter posts spread out over a longer time, until we get caught up.

We'll begin today with the second daughter of Caleb and Elizabeth (Callin) Montgomery:

Sarah Montgomery (1824–1918)

Sarah was the second of Caleb and Elizabeth (Callin) Montgomery's five children, born on 27 December 1824 in Olivesburg, Richland County, Ohio. She was 9 years old when her mother died, and she was 12 when her father moved the family to Fulton County, Indiana.

Sarah married Henry Davidson (1818–1894) in that county on 22 April 1841. They had six children of their own, who we'll look at over the course of the next few weeks:

  • I. Rebecca Lucretia Davidson (1842–1917)
  • II. William Montgomery Davidson (1845–1939)
  • III. Theodore Bruce Davidson (1848–1932)
  • IV. Frances Mary Davidson (1850–1855)
  • V. Samuel Thurston Davidson (1853–1889)
  • VI. Mary E Davidson (1854–1929)
 Henry Davidson was born in Ohio, according to most of his Census records; the 1880 places his birth in Illinois, but 1850, 1860, and 1870 all say he was born in Ohio, and his record in the Oregon, Early Oregonians Index, 1800-1860 asserts he was born in Wayne County, Ohio. His Find-A-Grave memorial says he was born in Michigan on 28 May 1818.

In 1850 the Henry and Sarah Davidson family was living in Newcastle, Fulton County, and by this time they had taken in Sarah's orphaned niece, who is listed in their household as "Sarah E Faroll" (age 4). You might recall Sarah Ferrell from the post, A Ferrell Child.

Based on research compiled by Stephanie Flora at the Davidsons set out for Oregon as part of the Murphy Train. Captained by John Ecles Murphy, the group consisted of family and friends, all members of the Christian Church (aka Campbellites or Disciples of Christ).  According to Flora's site, "In April 1852, a second migration of church members began the journey.  It was made up of the families of Burford, Butler, Davidson, Lucas, Mason, Murphy, Roundtree and a number of single men."

The Davidson family settled in what is now Halsey, Linn County, Oregon, where the two youngest children, Samuel and Mary, were born. Sarah and Henry lived out their days in Linn County. Henry died on 19 February 1894 and was buried in Pugh Cemetery in Shedd. Sarah lived in Lebanon until her death on 8 May 1918, and she was buried with her husband.

I. Rebecca Lucretia Davidson (1842–1917)

The oldest child of Henry and Sarah (Montgomery) Davidson, Lucretia was born on 18 August 1842 in Fulton County, Indiana. She would have been 10 years old when her family embarked on their journey to Oregon.

About 1864, she married Henderson Warren Murphy (1835–1918), son of John Ecles Murphy (1806–1876) and Frances Wright Doughty (1810–1891) - the same John Ecles Murphy who led the wagon train Lucretia's family took to Oregon in 1852. Henderson was born on 3 February 1835, during the years when his father was establishing the Church of Christ on Cedar Fork of Henderson River in Warren County, Illinois.

After they married, Henderson and Lucretia farmed and raised livestock in Oregon and Washington Territory. They raised a family of seven children, all of whom were born in Oregon:

     A. Sarah Frances Murphy (1865–1931)
     B. John D Murphy (1867–1955)
     C. Omer Thurston Murphy (1871–1961)
     D. Katherine M "Katie" Murphy (1873–1942)
     E. Nellie Murphy (1873–1958)
     F. Carrie M Murphy (1878–1954)
     G. Claude Henry Murphy (1885–1970)

(The rest of today's post will follow the descendants of Sarah Frances Murphy.)

About 1879 the family moved to Alder Creek in Klickitat County, Washington Territory, where they appeared on the 1880 U.S. Census and the 1883 territorial census, per Washington State and Territorial Censuses, 1857-1892. But their youngest child, Claude Henry, was born in Oregon in 1885, so it would seem they moved back to Linn County by that point.

Lucretia died on 20 July 1917 in Linn County, Oregon, and is buried in the IOOF Cemetery in Lebanon, Linn County. Henderson died at the home of his daughter, Carrie, in Vancouver, Washington, on 31 December 1918 and was brought back to Oregon and buried with his wife.

     A. Sarah Frances Murphy (1865–1931) was born on 5 January 1865 in Halsey, Linn County, Oregon. She married William Lawson Wells (1859–1949) on 3 November 1887 in Polk County, Oregon. William was born on 6 January 1859 to George Andrew Wells (1830–1900) and Henrietta Turner (1830–1911) in Hubbard, Marion County, Oregon.

William and Sarah lived at Dallas in Polk County, where William served as a county sheriff from 1890 to 1894 and as a county judge from 1896 to 1900. They raised seven children together. In 1903 the couple moved back to Halsey. Sarah died there on 21 September 1931 and was buried in Pugh Cemetery in Shedd, Linn County.

William married the widowed Winifred Snyder on 3 November 1932 in Halsey. He died at his home in Halsey on 15 February 1949 at the age of 90. He was buried with Sarah in the Pugh Cemetery.

     1. Leroy Henderson "Roy" Wells (1888–1971) was born on 21 October 1888 in Independence, Polk County, Oregon. He was a life-long farmer who never married. He moved to Albany in 1968 and died on 26 January 1971 in the Mennonite Home for the Aged.

     2. Elbert George Wells (1890–1961) was born in Independence on 4 April 1890 and grew up in Polk County, Oregon. By 1917 he was living in Calexico, California, where he worked as an engineer on the canals of the Imperial Valley's water company. He and Loreto Villa-Escusa (1895–2000) raised a family of five children: two daughters and three sons. The records I've found say that Loreto was born in 1895 in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico and that she and Elbert lived at 1384 Avenida Lerdo in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, but I have not been able to find marriage records - most likely due to my own inexperience looking for records in another country.

     a. Elbert George "Bari" Wells Jr. (1931–2016) was born on 3 July 1931 in Calexico, Imperial County, California. He was raised in Mexicali, Baja California, until his mid-twenties when he met and married his wife of 62 years. He worked hard all of his life in many jobs, starting as a farmworker in the fields of the San Joaquin Valley with his father and brothers at the age of 13. He then worked for Caltrans where he retired as the Brawley Yard Superintendent in 1991.

Bari died on 4 February 2016 at his home in Oceanside, California, and he is survived by his wife, son, two daughters, and two granddaughters.

     i. Elbert George Wells III (1954–2017) was born on 13 July 1954 in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, and was raised in Brawley, CA, where he attended Brawley High School. He later graduated from Imperial Valley College and the University of California, San Diego.

In 1980, George moved to Santa Barbara, California for work, where he met his late wife, Joann Napoli. In 2009, George moved to Oceanside, California, with his parents, where George assisted his father as a caregiver until Bari's death in 2016. During this time, George also battled diabetes. After his father's death, he moved back to Santa Barbara, where he died on 26 July 2017.
Order of Leopold II

     3. Goldie Ruth Wells (1893–1979) was born on 6 August 1893, in Dallas, Polk County, Oregon. She became a missionary to the Belgian Congo, where she assisted in establishing the mission station at Mondombe in 1919. She was an author, publishing Sila, Son of the Congo in 1945, and in 1937 she was decorated by the King of Belgium with the Order of Leopold II for her long and outstanding service in the Congo. When she was in America, she was a popular guest speaker in churches throughout the Midwest and Pacific Northwest.

Goldie died on 30 May 1979, in Salem, Marion County, Oregon, at the age of 85, and was buried in Shedd, Oregon.

     4. Gladys Leona Wells (1897–1980) was born on 24 August 1897 in Dallas, Polk County, Oregon. She married Emil J Helseth (1895–1980) on 16 September 1920. He was the son of Norwegian immigrants, Lars J Helseth (1864–1922) and Elise Pedersen (1867–1895), born on 9 January 1985 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Emil served in the Army Medical Corps in World War I, enlisting from 29 March 1918 to 11 April 1919. After the war, he attended the University of Oregon and graduated from Eugene Bible University, later called Northwest Christian College. He served pastoral assignments in Washington and Oregon, became an Army chaplain in World War II, serving from 5 June 1943 to 14 February 1946, and returned to Ontario as pastor of the First Christian Church. He later served in Boise and Burley, Idaho, retiring in I960 and moving to Salem. He was active in starting Keizer Christian Church, he was an elder emeritus of Garden Road Christian Church and a member of Salem Retread Organization, an association of people who served in both world wars.

Gladys and Emil died just a month apart in Salem; Gladys at home on 19 January and Emil on 11 February 1980 in a nursing home. They are buried in the City View Cemetery in Salem. They are survived by their two daughters, one of their three sons, 15 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

     a. Raymond Wells Helseth (1921–2005) was one of a set of twins born on 25 December 1921 in Eugene, Oregon. He received degrees from Northwest Christian College in Eugene and from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. While they were students at Northwest Christian College, he met Miriam Myrta Eccles (1923–2004), and they were married on 24 August 1943 in Orting, Washington.

Miriam was the daughter of missionaries George Emery Eccles (1890–1988) and Lulu M Moffitt (1896–1969), born on 16 March 1923 in Bolange, Belgian Congo. (As it happens, the Eccles family served at the mission station in Mondombe in the 1920s, which Raymond's aunt Goldie had helped to establish.) Miriam was a trained coloratura soprano and soloist. She gave voice and piano lessons and took in typing.

Raymond pastored churches in Colville, Washington; Kimberly, Idaho; and McMinnville, Oregon; as well as several student pastorates in Oregon and Texas. Miriam supported Raymond's ministry as a pianist, choir director, committee chair, and teacher. While in McMinnville, Miriam received a BA in Music Education and an MA in English Education from Linfield College. She taught music at Adams Grade School, taught English and Freshman Girls' Glee at Centennial High School, then English at Gresham High School, and later still substitute taught in Salem before becoming a full-time grade school music teacher for some years.

In 1960, Raymond became organizing pastor of Lynchwood Christian Church in southeast Portland. He served as a part-time campus minister at Portland State University and volunteer chaplain in the Multnomah County jail system. He became Protestant Chaplain at Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem in 1968. Miriam volunteered extensively at Oregon State Prison while Raymond was chaplain, giving piano and voice lessons to inmates and directing a men's choir. The choir was limited to 40 men with a long waiting list. Several concerts a year were performed for "outside' guests. One guest was Senator Mark Hatfield whom the Helseths had long known and admired.

 Miriam was active at Keizer Christian Church, becoming the first woman elder in a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation in Oregon. Even after he retired, Raymond served interim ministries in Washington and Oregon. Raymond and Miriam also helped start the Salem Area Habitat for Humanity. They had seen some original Habitat houses in Africa on a missions trip in 1986. Miriam was board secretary for nine years. On 16 March 2003, her eightieth birthday, a house was dedicated in West Salem as the Helseth Home.

Miriam died in Portland on 31 December 2004 at the age of 81. Raymond died on 1 October 2005 in Salem at the age of 83. They were survived by three of their five children and eight grandchildren. They were preceded in death by Merrilyn Joy Helseth (1946), who died in infancy, and by one son:

  • Raymond John "Ray J." Helseth (1957–1997) was born on 16 February 1957 in McMinnville, Yamhill County, Oregon, and he grew up to be a long-haul truck driver. Ray J. died on 28 July 1997 in Salem, Oregon, at the age of 40 and was survived by his companion and three step-children.

     b. Ralph Emil Helseth (1921–2001) was the twin brother of Raymond, born together on 25 December 1921 in Eugene, Oregon. He married Julia Evelyn Pedersen (1918–2016) on Christmas Day in 1942. Evelyn was born 20 December 1918, in Seattle, Washington, during the flu epidemic of 1918 and grew up on the Olympic Peninsula. She was the daughter of Edwin Peter Pederson (1882–1925) and Rhoda Maude Stuart (1883–1957).

Like his brother, he became a minister. He attended Pacific Lutheran College in Tacoma. Evelyn was a graduate of Northwest Christian College in Eugene and served in the ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Washington, Indiana, and Oregon with her husband.

Ralph died on 3 January 2001 in Federal Way, King County, Washington, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Auburn, King County. Evelyn moved to Hood River in 2008 as her health declined and lived with her daughter and son-in-law. She died at 97 years of age on 24 October 2016 and was buried with Ralph. They are survived by their daughter, one of their two sons, and their grandchildren.

  • Jonathan Mark Helseth (1949–2004) was the son of Ralph and Evelyn Helseth, born on 25 August 1949 in Clarkston, Asotin County, Washington. He was married in Auburn, Washington, in 1971, and is survived by his wife, son, and daughter. He died on 13 November 2004 in Seattle and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Auburn.

     5. William Leonard Wells (1900–1904) was born in Polk County, Oregon, on 17 April 1900, and only lived to be three years old. He died on 24 March 1904 and was buried in Pugh Cemetery in Shedd, Linn County, Oregon.

     6. William Lawrence Wells (1904–1977) was born on 7 February 1904 in Oregon and grew up to be a minister, like many of the men in his family. On 23 August 1927, he married Gracia Thornton (1904–1975) in Lane County, Oregon. Gracia was born on 2 May 1904 in Oregon, the youngest daughter of Josiah Jeptha Thornton (1851–1941) and Frances Emeline Mathews (1863–1937).

The Rev. W. Lawrence and Mrs. Gracia Wells served in Missouri, Snohomish County, Washington, and in Marysville, Yuba County, California, before settling in Pasadena, Los Angeles County in the 1950s. Gracia died in Pasadena on 23 April 1975, and Lawrence died there on 26 June 1977. They were survived by their son and three grandchild.

     a. William Joseph Wells (1937–2016) was the son of Lawrence and Gracia Wells, born 6 March 1937 in Vancouver, Washington. He spent his childhood in Washington State and northern California and graduated from Marysville High School in California in 1955. After he studied for a year at Chapman College, he served in the U.S. Navy for four years. While stationed in Japan, he met and married Judith Kathryn Davis (1940–1992), daughter of American missionaries Dr. Howard Kenneth Davis (1920–2014) and Kathryn Anna Giles (1922–1998). She was born on 8 August 1940 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

After his discharge from the service, Bill returned to Pacific Christian College, then attended Phillips Seminary in Enid, Oklahoma earning both a Masters of Divinity and a Doctorate of Ministry. He served churches in Nelsonville and Findlay, Ohio. Judith was also ordained as a United Methodist pastor, and she served in the Byhalia-Pottersburg (Ohio) area.

Bill and Judith divorced in July 1977, and both remarried - Judith in 1978, and Bill about 1987. Judith died on 22 November 1992 in Centerville, Montgomery County, Ohio.

After he married his second wife, Bill spent 16 years at Anderson Hills Church in Cincinnati, until health complications forced him into retirement. In 2003, Bill and his wife retired to Yuba City where they joined St. Andrew Presbyterian Church and enjoyed a loving community there. Bill suffered many health problems over the next years due to diabetes. He died on 22 December 2016 in Yuba City, Sutter County, California, and is survived by his wife, son, two daughters, and eight grandchildren and step-grandchildren (four of each).

     7. Genevieve H Wells (1906–1999) was the youngest child of William and Frances (Murphy) Wells, born on 29 December 1906 in Oregon and grew up in Halsey, Linn County. She married Glenn Clinton Kendall (1903–1949) on 3 September 1927 in Linn County. He was born on 6 April 1906 in Grant County, Oregon, to John Benjamin Kendall (1867–1943) and Winnifred "Winnie" Mulkey (1873–1946).

Glenn and Genevieve lived in the Albany, Oregon, area until around 1944, when they moved to Paso Robles, California. Glenn died in San Luis Obispo County on 13 March 1949 and was buried in Paso Robles District Cemetery.

Genevieve remarried Leo Estel Smart (1890–1978) on 14 February 1958 in San Luis Obispo, California. Leo died on 6 May 1978 in Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, California, and was buried in Paso Robles District Cemetery. Genevieve died on 12 June 1999, also in Morro Bay, California, at the age of 92, and was buried in Paso Robles, California.

       a. John E Kendall (1929–2016) was born on 13 April 1929 and grew up in Benton County. All I can say about John's biography with the records I have been able to find is that he married his second wife, Jean Belle Lay (1928–2004) on 7 September 1976 in Los Angeles County, California. She died in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, California, on 20 November 2004, and was buried in the Paso Robles District Cemetery. John died there in 2016 and was buried with Jean.

       b. Lewis Clinton Kendall (1934–2009) was born on 7 September 1934 in Albany, Oregon, and moved to Paso Robles around age 10, where he eventually graduated from Paso Robles High. Lewis was married to his first wife for 18 years. After they divorced, he began his 23-year career with California State Parks. He worked at Hearst Castle for 6 years and 17 years at Lake Oroville. He moved to Chico in 1979, where he died on 27 July 2009.
- -- --- -- -

That is all I have at the moment - I feel like there is a lot more to say about these very interesting people, but hopefully, we'll get to learn more as we move down the trail!

As always, if you've found one or more of your relatives mentioned in this blog, please get in touch. You can comment below (anonymous comments are usually not as helpful), or email "mightieracorns" at

We now have more ways to reach out:

a Facebook page -
a Twitter feed -
a Ko-Fi cup -

...and if you prefer a private group, we still have the Callin Family History group on Facebook for "cousins only" (there will be a question about how you're related to the family before you can join).

Until next time.... Happy Hunting!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Caring About Your Identity

At the risk of appearing to drag ugly partisan politics into my family history blog, there is an idea going around that I think it's important for genealogists and family historians to address. It revolves around statements similar to this one:

"I wouldn't say [person] is racist - unless by that you mean that they care about white identity."

The short answer is, that yes, "caring about white identity" is racist, by definition. The concept of a person being "white" only exists in the context of race, and identifying as "white" - in other words, classifying yourself using race - is a literal expression of racism. Sorry, but that's how words work.

But what does that mean for those of us who "care about" our lineage, our heritage, and our genetic background? Can you care about those things and not be racist?

First, we have to agree that there is no biological or scientific meaning behind the term "race." Since the middle of the 20th century, anthropologists have started using the growing body of information available from studying DNA to study different human populations, and they've stopped using the outdated (not to mention loaded) terms concocted by their predecessors. As the Human Genome Project put it, "two random individuals from any one group are almost as different [genetically] as any two random individuals from the entire world." (see also Genetic Similarities Within and Between Human Populations) This means that, at best, "race" is a post hoc cultural notion that usually tries to tie superficial physical characteristics to personality traits that makes as much sense, scientifically, as trying to define them by their horoscope.

So, just to restate the tautology here: Classifying people by "races" as if a race were a distinct, definable thing is a racist practice. All of us are guilty of buying into racism to some extent, even if it's just because we filled in the "white/caucasian" bubble on our Census forms. Racism is built into our society in ways that we can't ignore, and as historians, we are obligated to understand that and to address it in our research.

Defining what a "race" is has always been elusive. I've written before about how even the wise Benjamin Franklin viewed his "Pennsylvania Dutch" neighbors as being a different race from the English, and how the notion of who is and who isn't "white" has shifted over the centuries. Complicating this further, people frequently confuse national identity or religion with race. Many people aren't aware that the Cherokee nation, for example, does not base its citizenship on race. Being Jewish can mean either that one is descended from ethnically Jewish people, or that one belongs to the Jewish faith - or both. Being Muslim has nothing at all to do with race, but people frequently call out bigotry aimed at Muslim people as "racism." In reality, each of these classifications has more to do with heritage than anything biological.

When you talk about "heritage," you're talking about things that are passed down to you from your ancestors. These can be physical things, of course, but can also be stories and ideas that you learn from and about previous generations. Growing up hearing my grandfathers talk about their experiences in World War II, or reading my aunt's scrapbook about my great-great-grandparents taking a covered wagon from Kansas to the Arizona Territory - that's all part of my heritage.

The stories I've related in this blog about ancestors fighting in the American Revolution (whether they were fighting with Lafayette or being captured by Gen. George Washington), helping escaped slaves flee north, or rescuing children captured in the conflicts between settlers and indigenous tribes - those stories are all part of our heritage.

Each of those stories helps us understand the people who came before us, and what their place was in the world as they knew it. I try to tell their stories without judgment and with as much accuracy as is possible, but I also have to acknowledge that they were human and that even though they're my family, they weren't automatically the "good guys" of their stories.

Had the Irish immigrant and American Revolutionary James Callin and the Hessian mercenary Leopold Zindle met on the battlefield, which one would have been the "good guy"? When the Callin girl (or girls) were carried off by Indian warriors, was it because our settler ancestors had moved farther west than they were supposed to...or were they innocent pawns caught up in a dispute between British and French powers? And was Uncle George using his farm as a stop on the Underground Railroad because he believed in the humanity and freedom of these escaped slaves, or was he doing it because he didn't want those people settling in his county? I really don't know the answer, though I am always on the lookout for evidence that could tell me.

Race and racism are factors in all of those stories. How my ancestors saw people stolen from Africa, or how they treated native Americans or even how they treated each other as people of a different race is part of my heritage. Part of my task as a historian is to understand how they saw their world, and that means making their definitions part of their story. That is what I mean when I talk about preserving their stories. But that is a far different thing from accepting their views as right or keeping their views as my own.

For me, even though (so far) all of my proven ancestors came from populations that originated in northern Europe, I see them all as being too diverse to pigeon-hole into something as bland as simply "being white." They belonged to different faith traditions, spoke different languages, wore different clothes, knew different crafts and trades, and probably slept with a lot more people than the records would prove. I don't betray them by not being exactly like them - it would be impossible for me to "honor my heritage" that way, anyway. If I still practiced the religion of one set of 5th-great grandparents, I would be abandoning the very different practices of the other sets, after all - and remember, these were people who burned each other at the stake for practicing different religions.

Even though I don't practice a religion, I speak different languages than they did, I wear very different clothes, know few crafts, and practice a trade that didn't exist for them, and wouldn't presume to kiss and tell - I still care about my heritage. I still preserve their memories and their points of view as best as I can, while acknowledging their mistakes and their failures.

So, can I be interested in preserving my heritage and not be a racist? Absolutely. In my view, racism has no place in family history, other than as something that should be studied and understood as an outdated and dangerous part of our past - like cholera, Great Fires, or the Gold standard.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Watts Cooking

Hello, cousins!

This week we will look at the second group of descendants of Lark Robinson Cook. There are a lot of them, so we'll jump right in where we left off last week:

Lark Robinson's family tree
     D. Martha Etta Cook (1898–1981) was born in Missouri in November 1898 to Jeremiah and Lark (Robinson) Cook and grew up in Cass, Douglas County, Missouri. She was living with her mother in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri, in January 1900, according to the U.S. Census.

I have not been able to find records that might tell her story more accurately, but a lot happened to Etta between 1920 and 1930. By the 1930 Census, she was married to Hugh Grover Watts (1892–1971), and they lived in Lamar with five children in their household.

All of Etta's children appear in the census records (1930 and 1940) with the surname "Watts," but her three eldest children (born in 1920, 1922, and 1924) have records in the U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 database that list their father as Walter Waring. There is a Walter Waring listed as living in Barton County, Missouri, in 1900, and he was divorced and living in with his sister and brother-in-law in Moniteau County, Missouri in 1920; he was married to someone else and living in Coal, Vernon County, Missouri, in 1930. Without more information, there is no way to conclude whether he is the same Walter Waring or rule him out as the father of Etta's three eldest children.

Hugh Watts was born on 25 September 1892 in Cabool, Texas County, Missouri, to Gilbert Steel Watts (1847–1919) and Lucetta Miller (1860–1899).  Etta was Hugh's second wife; he was married to Myrtle Thompson (1901–1957) from about 1919 until at least 1923, during which time they had three sons. Myrtle remarried in 1926 and raised the three boys with her new husband.

Hugh raised Etta's children with his surname, and they had six more of their own. Hugh was an employee of the Missouri-Pacific Railroad and a veteran of World War I. He was dead on arrival at Barton County Memorial Hospital, Lamar, on 21 February 1971, following an apparent heart attack at his home. Etta died on 5 March 1981 in Lamar, survived by 19 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren. Two of her nine children are still living.

     1. Elsie Marie (Waring) Watts (1920–1998) was born on 1 November 1920 in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri. She grew up in the home of her mother and step-father in Lamar. She married Olen Ernest Rakestraw (1913-2010) about 1937. Olen was the son of  James Wiley Rakestraw (1875–1949) and Katie Belle Wilkinson (1878–1963), born in Round Grove, Missouri, on 3 September 1913.

Elsie and Olen moved their family to Wichita, Kansas, during the 1940s, where Olen worked as a carpenter. They later moved to Aurora, Arapahoe County, Colorado. Elsie died in Aurora on 21 May 1998 and was buried in Hampden Memorial Estates in Denver. Olen died on 11 February 2010 and was buried with Elsie.  They were survived by three of their four sons, 15 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren.

       b. Rex Eugene Rakestraw (1941–2009) was born in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri, on 26 February 1941, and grew up in Wichita, Kansas, where he graduated from Wichita High School in 1959. Rex became a machinist for Boeing Aircraft. In 1962, he married LaDonna More Hershberger (1942–2001), daughter of  Roy Grover Hershberger (1918–2003) and Lois Lorene Rethorst (1919–1999). She was born on 29 August 1942 and also graduated from Wichita High School.

Rex and LaDonna moved to Houston, Texas, where they raised their three daughters. They moved back to Wichita, probably after Rex retired. LaDonna died in Wichita on 10 March 2001 and was buried in White Chapel Memorial Gardens in Wichita. Rex died on 17 August 2009 and was buried with his wife. They were survived by their daughters, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.  

     2. Mildred Fay Waring (1922–2006) was born on 28 September 1922 in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri. About 1940, she married John Henry Wynkoop (1916–1962) and moved with him to California. John was born on 29 February 1916 in Springfield, Missouri, to William Jedidiah Wynkoop (1882–1924) and Lula Alice Beason (1884–1966).

After John died on 23 May 1962 in Los Angeles, Mildred remarried briefly. She married Howard B Payne in Nevada on 16 August 1966, and they divorced in Los Angeles in April 1967. She remained in California for many years after, eventually returning to Lamar, where she died on 26 February 2006 and was buried in Memory Gardens Cemetery.

     3. Ralph William Waring (1924–1998) was born in Lamar on 23 April 1924 and grew up there in the home of his mother and step-father. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on 28 February 1943, served in a unit of airborne troops based in England, and was discharged at the end of the war on 16 August 1945.

It isn't clear from the few records I found how many times Ralph was married, or how many kids he had. Here is what I can say about his family with some degree of certainty:

He married Esther Lee Dutton (1928–2013) on 8 October 1947 in Independence, Jackson, Missouri. She was the daughter of Henry Don Dutton (1906–1968) and Clara Belle Taylor (born 1905), born on 17 February 1928 in Independence. They had a son before they divorced. Esther was married five times, and when she died on 30 August 2013 in Independence and was buried under the name of her last husband, Forrester.

Ralph was married to Mely Brown Vermillion (1928–2000) sometime before 1972. She was the daughter of James L Brown (born 1893) and Iva B Romine (1902–1990).  He died on 8 August 1998 in Richmond, Ray County, Missouri, and was buried in Richmond Memory Gardens there. Mely died on 28 June 2000 in Rayville, Ray County, and was buried with Ralph.

     4. Mary Louise Watts (1925–2001) was born on 7 August 1925, grew up in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri, and graduated Lamar High School 1942. She married Robert (Bob) Walter Cole (1922–1977) on 23 December 1944. He was born in McHenry, North Dakota, on 7 February 1922, the son of Walter B Cole (1897–1979) and Florence Mae Dell (1899–1985).

Bob was a veteran of World War II and made his career with the L.A. Police Dept. after the war. He and Mary raised three sons in Reseda, Los Angeles County, California. After he retired, Bob and Mary moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he died on 4 December 1977 of a sudden heart attack.

After Bob died, Mary lived in the San Fernando Valley, in Beaumont, Riverside County, California, and near the end of her life, she moved to Mount Pleasant, Maury County, Tennessee, to live with one of her sons. She died there peacefully in her sleep on 26 January 2001, after a year-long struggle with cancer. They are survived by their three sons and eight grandchildren.

     5. Claude Eugene Watts (1928–1979) was born on 9 January 1928 in Barton County, Missouri. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on 15 March 1946, and he re-enlisted after the war, serving until 27 July 1949.

After he left the Army, Claude married Murlin Lee Maggard (1927–2006) on 18 October 1950 in Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri. She was born on 27 June 1927 in Ozark, Christian County, Missouri, to Frank Maggard (1883–1975) and Margaret E Willoughby (1888–1963). Claude was her second husband and she had a son from her first marriage.

Claude was a carpenter, and he and Murlin had a son and a daughter together. Claude died on 15 December 1979 in Carthage and was buried in Memory Gardens Cemetery at Lamar. Murlin died on 20 July 2006 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, having moved to nearby Collinsville in 2005. She was buried with Claude. They left behind their three children, four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

     6. Hugh Watts Jr (1930–1951) was born in Lamar on 6 April 1930 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1950. As a member of Battery A, 38th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, he was taken prisoner while fighting near Kunu-ri, North Korea on 30 November 1950 and died while a prisoner on 9 February 1951. Private First Class Watts was awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

     9. Kenneth Wayne Watts (1942–1998) was born on 16 April 1942 in Lamar and graduated Lamar High School. He died on 27 September 1998 at 56 years of age and was buried in Memory Gardens Cemetery in Lamar.

     E. Harry Lee Cook (1901–1985) was born on 6 September 1901 in Douglas County, Missouri. He married Nellie Stella Hines (1905–1988) in about 1925. She was born on 14 January 1905 in Erie, Neosho County, Kansas, to Andrew J Hines (1871–1944) and Margaret J Linebaugh (1873–1944).

Harry and Nellie had six children before they divorced, probably in the mid-1940s, and she remarried Frederick Earl Bright (1901–1951). She later married Daniel B. Daugherty (1897–1982) on 17 May 1958, and they lived in Sprague, Bates, Missouri, where they raised two granddaughters after the death of their mother, Aleta. She died on 8 June 1988 and was buried in Deepwood Cemetery in Nevada, Vernon County, Missouri.

Harry worked in the ice plant for Skaggs Ice Co. and for Mid-America Dairy as a maintenance man until he retired. He died on 30 September 1985 in El Dorado Springs, Cedar County, Missouri, and was buried in Taberville Cemetery in Taberville, St. Clair County, Missouri.

They were survived by three of their six children, 16 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

     2. Leroy Cook (1930–1931) was the second child of Harry and Nellie Cook, born on 20 March 1930 and died 15 November 1931 in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri. He is buried in Lake Cemetery in Lamar.

     3. Aleta Maxine Cook (1933–1958) was born on 15 January 1933 in Lamar, Missouri, and she grew up in North Fork, Barton County, with her family. According to reporting in the Kansas City Times, she was killed on 3 June 1958 by her common-law husband, Frank Bannister, leaving behind two small daughters to be raised by Nellie and Dan Daugherty.

Frank had a wife and five children in San Antonio but claimed in his confession to police that he had stabbed Maxine in a fit of jealousy. He pleaded insanity in February 1959. He married again in 1964, presumably after serving his sentence, and he died on 24 March 1993 in San Antonio.

     4. Nellie Lee Cook (1937–1978) was born on 19 May 1937 in Lamar, Missouri, and attended El Dorado Springs High School. She married Edward William Knoblich (1936–2006) around 1955, and they lived in Fort Scott, Bourbon County, Kansas. The couple had two sons and two daughters together before they divorced.

On 4 September 1978, Ed left Nellie at the Fort Scott emergency center with a gunshot wound to her head and fled on foot. Nellie died on 9 September and The Iola Register reported that Ed was charged with aggravated kidnapping and first-degree, but was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter in January 1979. Ed died on 31 October 2006 in Fort Scott.

     F. Daina Austin Cook (1905–1965) was born in Douglas County, Missouri, on 21 May 1905 to Jeremiah and Lark (Robinson) Cook. He grew up in Cass, in Douglas County, and moved with his family to Lamar, Barton County, when he was a teenager.

He worked as a barber and married Helen Lucille Jarvis (1909–1980) around 1928. She was born on 15 July 1909 in Golden City, Barton County, Missouri, to Albert Cleveland Jarvis (1886–1918) and Mahala Elsie Woodin (1889–1964). The couple had two sons, but they divorced. Daina and the boys moved to Independence, where Daina was employed at the Lake City Army ammunition plant.

Helen remarried Howard Elmo Holt (1911–1969) about 1944 and lived with him in Hollister, San Benito, California, where they had a daughter. Daina remained in Independence until his death on 20 October 1965 at the osteopathic hospital in Kansas City. He was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Independence.

     1. Robert Austin Cook (1929–1964) was born in Lamar, Missouri, on 7 September 1929. He graduated from William Chrisman High School in Independence. Bob worked for the Social Security Administration in Independence and in Baltimore. He died in Independence at 36 years of age on 29 November 1964 survived by his wife and two young sons.

     G. Willie Walter Cook (1907–1984) was born on 16 September 1907 in Douglas County, Missouri. He married Jennie June Bell (1909–1967), the daughter of Harry Thomas Bell (1875–1957) and Sarah Louise "Sadie" Bowen (1878–1956) on 20 October 1933 in Stockton, Cedar, Missouri.

They had a son and three daughters together. Willie worked for the Lamar School District as a custodian and for Horton Plumbing Co. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in the last year of the war, serving from 17 May 1944 to 12 October 1945. Unlike most of the families we look at, June and Willie had already had all their children before he joined the Army.

June died on 9 September 1967 in Lamar and was buried in Memory Gardens Cemetery there. Willie died on 7 December 1984 in Mount Vernon, Lawrence County, Missouri, and was buried with June in Lamar. They are survived by two of their daughters, 18 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.

       2. Thomas Otto Cook (1937–2012) was born on 1 November 1937, in Lamar and graduated from Lamar High School, class of 1955. He joined the Navy in 1956 and retired in 1976, having received three Good Conduct Medals, Navy Unit Commendation Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal. He served in the Cuban Blockade, three tours in Vietnam and on four different ships.

After retiring from the Navy, Thomas worked for the Missouri Department of Transportation as a highway department supervisor with 25 years of service. He died on 5 May 2012 in Lamar and was buried in the Memory Gardens Cemetery there. He was survived by his children, 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

       3. Laura Louise Cook (1939–1999) was born on 8 July 1939 in Lamar. She married her first husband, Billy Joe Mayshark (1931–1995) on 19 June 1955. He was born on 22 April 1931 in Springfield, Missouri, the son of Ernest Calvin Mayshark (1912–1977) and Rosa E Walker (1911–1990) and a veteran of the Korean conflict, serving in the U.S. Marine Corps from 25 January 1952 to 16 November 1952. Billy Joe died on 17 May 1995.

Laura and her second husband, Darrel Dean Servis (1932–1999), died a few days apart; Laura on 28 September 1999 in Wichita, Kansas, and Darrel on 3 October 1999 in Woodward, Oklahoma.

     H. Dorothy M Cook (1910–1981) was born on 16 April 1910 in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri, and was raised there. She married Albert Louis Arft (1909-1971), the son of Louis A Arft (1871–1949) and Dora M Tucker (1890–1975). Albert was born on 20 May 1909 in Kenoma, Barton County, Missouri.

Dorothy worked at McKay's Supermarket In Lamar, and Albert was a 38-year employee of the Frisco Railway. They raised their daughter in Barton County. He died on 31 December 1971 in Barton County Memorial hospital following a short illness. Dorothy died on 6 June 1981 in Lamar.

     1. Betty Lou Arft (1930–2016) was born on 10 March 1930 in Lamar, was a graduate of Lamar High School and became a Licensed Practical Nurse. She worked at the Lamar Clinic before going to work in Springfield for the American Red Cross.

On 31 December 1950, she married Marvin Hiatt Sagehorn (1923–1994) and together they had three sons, all still living. Marvin was born 2 September 1923 in Kansas City, Missouri, to Clarence Ellis Sagehorn (1901–1984) and Estelle Camille Hiatt (1903–1998). Marvin remarried in Minnesota, but eventually returned to Missouri. He died 14 February 1994 in Lamar.

Betty married Curtis LaVerne Peterson (1926–2011) in 1988. Curtis died in 2011, and Betty died on 4 August 2016 in Lamar. She was survived by her three sons, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

     I. Angeline R Cook (1913–1984) was born on 4 August 1913 in Missouri. She married Theodore Richard Young (1909–1995), son of Gideon Isaac Young (1871–1952) and Edith Jane Stevens (1881–1974), in about 1936. He was born on 4 February 1909 in Houghton, Brown County, South Dakota. Angeline and Theodore lived in Independence, Missouri, and they had at least two children.

Angeline died in March of 1984 in Independence, and Theodore died there on 25 January 1995. Presumably, they were survived by their children and grandchildren, but I have not been able to locate their obituaries or any reference to how many descendants they have left behind.

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For now, that's where we'll have to leave the descendants of Minerva Callin. There are a lot more people to trace in this branch, but we have to leave some mysteries for future generations, I suppose!

As always, if you've found one or more of your relatives mentioned in this blog, please get in touch. I've had a lot less time to spend looking for descendants of these folks, and I'm certain I've got gaps in my knowledge which some living cousins might be able to fill. If I can't find you, I hope you'll find me!

You can comment below (anonymous comments are usually not as helpful), or email "mightieracorns" at

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Until next time.... Happy Hunting!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Life As Lark

Hello, cousins!
Lark Robinson's family tree

Last week, I reported on my breakthrough finding the rest of the story of Minerva Callin (1834-1895). Of her seven children, I was only able to trace the descendants of one daughter - and according to the Kansas City Times, that daughter left behind 89 descendants!

Here is where we left off:

     VI. Laura "Lark" Robinson (1870–1954) was born on 15 December 1870 in Gridley, Coffey County, Kansas. When her parents divorced, around 1874, she remained with her father, Dana, and her younger brother stayed with their mother, Minerva.

Her name was listed as "Lark" when she appeared in her father's household on the 1880 U.S. Census, the 1875 and 1885 Kansas State Census, and in her daughter Clara's 1957 death record, suggesting that this was the name she went by. Her name appears as "Laura" in all of the other official records I found.

Lark married Jeremiah Luther Cook (1843–1919) in 1890. He was born on 3 March 1843 in Pendleton County, Virginia (which is now West Virginia) to William Cook and Mary Shaw (or Share). This was his second marriage, his first wife, Martha E Hartman (1859–1886), having died in 1886, leaving him with two children, Mary S., and Isaac Newton Cook.

Lark and Jeremiah lived in Cass, Douglas County, Missouri during the 1900s and 1910s before moving to Lamar, Barton County, Missouri. They had nine children together:

     A. Effa May Cook (1891–1979)
     B. Clara Belle Cook (1893–1957)
     C. Maudie Fay Cook (1895–1964)
     D. Martha Etta Cook (1898–1981)
     E. Harry Lee Cook (1901–1985)
     F. Daina Austin Cook (1905–1965)
     G. Willie Walter Cook (1907–1984)
     H. Dorothy M Cook (1910–1981)
     I. Angeline R Cook (1913–1984)

We'll be spending this week and next week looking at their families.

Jeremiah died in Lamar on 25 October 1919 and was buried in East Side Cemetery in Lamar. Lark remained in Lamar, but died on 1 December 1954 in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, and was buried in Lake Cemetery in Lamar.

     A. Effa May Cook (1891–1979) was born on 14 April 1891 in Missouri and married Elvis E Edwards (1878–1950) around 1908. He was born on 27 February 1878 in Independence Corners, Missouri, to Cornelius Edwards (1841–1928) and Charlotte "Lottie" Waller (1850–1935).

Elvis and Effie lived in Cass, Douglas County, Missouri (1910), Blue, Jackson County, Missouri (1920), and Liberty, Coffey County, Kansas (1925), before settling for a while in Sulphur Springs, Benton County, Arkansas for a few years around 1930 and 1935. They lived in Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California, from at least 1935.

Elvis died in Los Angeles on 6 November 1950 and was buried back in Sulphur Springs, Arkansas, in the Butler Creek Cemetery. Effie moved back to Missouri and remarried. Her second husband was Welker Lee Vickers (1890–1963). She died in Sulphur Springs in September 1979 and was buried with Welker in Butler Creek Cemetery.

       1. Roy Clifford Edwards (1909–1985) was born on 29 May 1909 in Ava, Douglas County, Missouri. He married Lucile B Lang (1914–1985) about 1931. They had three of their four children in Missouri before moving to San Diego, California, in 1937 or 1938.

Roy was a baker. He died in Sacramento, California, on 2 July 1985, and Lucille died in Riverside County, California, just a few months later on 15 November 1985. As far as I know, their son and three daughters are still living.

       2. Clara Marie Edwards (1912–2000) was born on 2 February 1912 in Blue, Jackson County, Missouri. She married Hayden Ralph Yeargain (1911–1981) on 31 March 1931 in Pineville, McDonald County, Missouri. He was born on 2 February 1911 in Sulphur Springs, Arkansas, to Charles Joe Yeargain (1884–1940) and Laura H Roughton (1890–1927).

After they married, Clara and Hayden lived in Inglewood, Los Angeles, California, where he worked as a plumbers assistant in 1940. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on 30 December 1942 and served until 18 January 1946.

Hayden died on 18 December 1981 in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles County, California, and was buried in the Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside County. Clara was living back in Lanagan, McDonald County, Missouri, in 1991; she died on 4 February 2000 in Gravette, Benton County, Arkansas, and was buried in Butler Creek Cemetery in Sulphur Springs.

The records suggest they did not leave any children of their own behind.

       3. Ruth May Edwards (1920–1976) was born on 9 January 1920 in Jackson County, Missouri (the Southeast side of Kansas City). She married her first husband on 12 October 1935 in Carthage, Jasper, Missouri, when she was only 15. His name was William A Brown (born 1908).

Will and Ruth had two sons together before the start of World War II. Without more information about Will, I don't know whether they divorced or he died; it is possible that he enlisted in the Army, as there are several records of men of that name in that area with similar details.

At any rate, Ruth married her second husband, William Bourbon Puryear (1906–1996), about 1946, and they had a son the following year. They lived in Noel, McDonald County, Missouri, which is about five miles north of Sulphur Springs, across the Arkansas-Missouri state line.

Ruth died at the Medical Center in Gravette, Benton County, Arkansas (another five miles south of Sulphur Springs), on 2 July 1976, and was buried in Butler Creek Cemetery, like her sister and mother. Bill died in Gravette twenty years later on 21 May 1996 and was buried with his wife.

       a. Darrell Lee Brown (1936–2014) was born 3 June 1936 in Pittsburg, Kansas. He was an American Airlines mechanic, and lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from at least the late 1950s, when he was married there. Darrell died 9 April 2014, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the age of 77 years.

       b. Gerald Dee Brown (1940–1998) was born on 29 February 1940 in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri. Like his older brother, he lived in Tulsa, where he married Judy Watkins (1940–2008) on 16 August 1958. He died on 10 September 1998 in Bangs, Brown County, Texas, and Judy died there on 3 July 2008.

       c. Daniel E Puryear (1947–2011) was born in Noel, Missouri, on 24 July 1947. Daniel was employed as a shipping supervisor for Tyson Foods. He had a passion for photography, playing the banjo, mandolin, and guitar, fishing and restoring cars. He died on 5 August 2011 in Houston, Texas, and was survived by his wife, his two sons, three step-sons, step-daughter, four grandchildren, eight step-grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

     B. Clara Belle Cook (1893–1957) was born in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri, on 6 August 1893. She grew up in Cass, Douglas County, and married William David Henson (1886–1976) there on 21 August 1910.

William was born on 6 January 1886, one of the younger children of James B Henson (1846–1931) and Martha Belle Tuggle (1855–c. 1915). He served in the U.S. Army from 15 August 1905 to 14 August 1908. William work as a laborer in the oil fields of the Pacific Northwest, and the family moved frequently between Cold Springs, Independence, and Lamar in Missouri and Idaho, eventually settling in Washington state.

Clara died on 27 August 1957 in Cashmere, Chelan County, Washington, and was buried in Cashmere Cemetery. William died there on 22 June 1976 and was buried with his wife.

     1. Effie Lenora Henson (1911–2010) was born in Cold Springs, Missouri, on 23 June 1911. She married Drew Leaver Coats (1894–1980) on 25 October 1932 in Libby, Lincoln County, Montana. He was born on 15 September 1894 in Houston, Texas County, Missouri, the son of Andrew Jackson Coats (1854–1918) and Nancy E Farris (1859–1942).

Drew and Lenora lived in McCormick, Lincoln County, Montana, during the 1930s, and were in Moyie Springs, Boundary County, Idaho, in 1942, where they ran a dairy farm. They had four sons and three daughters, all but one of whom are still living. Drew died on 4 January 1980 in Bonner's Ferry, Boundary county, and was buried in Paradise Valley Cemetery.

When she was 93, Lenora attended the University of Idaho where a new ruling called the “Lenora Rule” was passed so that anyone over the age of 85 could attend college without a high school diploma. She earned a 4.0 GPA.

Lenora died on 1 March 2010 at the Bonner General Hospital in Sandpoint, Idaho, with memorial services held on 6 March in the LDS Church in Bonner's Ferry. She was survived by 15 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great-grandchildren; one granddaughter and one great-granddaughter preceded her in death.

       e. James William Coats was born on Nov. 29, 1940, at the Coats Ranch in the State Line area to Drew and Lenora Coats., and attended Central and Troy schools. James and his brother moved to Leavenworth, Washington, in 1951 to live with another brother. James worked in the orchards and graduated from high school as valedictorian of his senior class.

James enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1959 in San Diego and was sent to Ford and Chrysler Motor College. He served aboard the USS CVA Constellation, USS Forrestal, USS Ranger, and the USS Kitty Hawk, commissioned the USS Enterprise, and commissioned and designed part of the USS Nimitz. James served for five years in Vietnam, both on land and at sea. He was the commanding officer of the first Navy Seal Team and during his years in the service traveled around the world and received numerous awards and medals.

While stationed in Hawaii he married Alicia Bicoy (1943–2017) on 24 May 1963. She was born on 14 May 1943 on Oahu, Hawaii, to Andres Cinto Bicoy (1896–1971) and Auria Ondo (1910–1973). He retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years and in spring 1978 moved his family from Norfolk, Va., to Bonner's Ferry, Idaho. In 1980 the family moved to the Coats Ranch where he farmed, raised cattle, logged and did private contracting for the Forest Service in Idaho and Montana. He also worked for 15 years as a mechanic at Hubbard's Farm.

James and Alicia divorced, and he remarried in 2001. He died on 8 September 2004, at the age of 63, along with his dog Queenie, from injuries suffered in a car accident at Naples, Idaho.  Alicia died in her home in Troy, Lincoln County, Montana, on 17 October 2017. They are survived by their three daughters and six grandchildren.

     2. Lloyd James Henson (1914–1995) was born on 11 May 1914 in Pacific, Pierce County, Washington. He married Mildred Mae Barden (1919–1981) on 2 September 1938 in Cashmere, Chelan County, Washington. She was born on 13 August 1919 in Danbury, Burnett County, Wisconsin, to Hiram Henry Barden (1890–1955) and Maude Eva Cowan (1885–1960).

Lloyd was a carpenter and was a member of Local 2127 U.B.C.J.A. Mildred died on 14 December 1981 in Centralia, Lewis County, Washington, and was buried in Mountain View Memorial Park, Lakewood, Lewis County. Lloyd remarried in spent his last 13 years in Pierce County and died at 80 years of age on 15 March 1995 in Tacoma. He was buried with Mildred in Lakewood.

The couple had five children: three sons and a daughter, still living, and one daughter who died at age 30. They were also survived by six grandchildren.
  • Lynda Lark Henson (1948–1978) was born on 10 August 1948 in Wenatchee, Chelan County, Washington, and was married to Forrest W Sorenson (1946–2013). She died at only 30 years of age on 24 September 1978 in Puyallup, Pierce County, Washington. Forrest remarried in 1981 but divorced in 1988. He died on 31 May 2013 in Pierce County, Washington.
      3. Lester William Henson (1916–1996) was born on 2 July 1916 in Shoshone, Lincoln County, Idaho. He appeared with his family in Independence, Missouri, on the 1920 Census, and in Center, Greene County, Missouri on the 1930 Census. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on 10 April 1942 in Tacoma, Washington.

According to Idaho marriage records, Lester was married on 16 November 1941 in Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai County, Idaho. I have not been able to find further information about this first wife to know whether she is still living. He later married Vera Ethel Lee (1915–2002) on 26 December 1947 in Coeur d'Alene and became the step-father to her four children.

Vera was born on 12 March 1915 in Coffee Creek, Fergus County, Montana, to Roy Albert Lee (1890–1963) and Elsie Murray (1899–1980). She was first married to Dale Ralph Hollingsworth (1897–1963), and they had two sons and two daughters before they divorced. She married her second husband, Ted Brusha, on 3 November 1938 in Wenatchee, Chelan County, Washington. They divorced, as well.

Lester died on 17 July 1996 in Kirkland, King County, Washington, and was buried in Acacia Memorial Park and Funeral Home in Seattle. Vera died on 15 April 2002, also in King County, and was buried with Lester.

      4. Leona "Mattie" Henson (1918–1920) was born in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri, on 3 November 1918 and died on 4 February 1920 in Independence, Missouri, when she was just over a year old. She is buried in a public plot in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Independence.

      5. Violet Lobelia Henson (1921–2002) was born on 24 March 1921 most likely in Bonner's Ferry, Boundary County, Idaho. Her records give some conflicting information on her birthplace, and her family was in Greene County, Missouri according to the 1930 Census.

She married Henry Leroy Pressley (1915–1949) on 26 October 1939 in Chelan County, Washington. Henry was born on 8 April 1915 in Hardin, Calhoun County, Illinois, to George William Pressley (1880–1967) and Clarabelle Mcdonald (1887–1918). He enlisted in the U.S. Army on 25 January 1944 and was honorably discharged after the end of the war on 12 November 1945, having served in the antitank company of the 473rd Infantry Regiment.

Henry was killed on 21 October 1949 near East Wenatchee, Washington, by a blast from a 12-gauge shotgun accidentally discharged by a hunting companion, James Nelson. Nelson and two other hunting companions rushed Pressley to a physician, but he was dead on arrival. He was survived by his widow and three daughters, one of whom is still living.

Violet remarried on 9 May 1952 in Chelan County, Washington; her second husband was Bruce Gilbert Grimes (1912–1997). He was the son of Clarence Procter Grimes (1879–1939) and Della Deakins (1884–1964), born on 26 December 1912 in Cashmere, Chelan County.

Bruce and Violet lived in Cashmere. Bruce died on 16 April 1997 in Wenatchee, Chelan County. Violet died in Okanogan, Okanogan County, Washington on 20 October 2002, and was buried in Cashmere Cemetery.

     a. Patricia M Pressley Hendrix (1941–2006) was born on 3 February 1941 in Chicago while her family was staying with her grandparents in Jerseyville, Jersey County, Illinois. She married her first husband when she was 15, on 23 September 1956 in Kootenai County, Idaho. She married a second time on 4 February 1967 also in Kootenai County, Idaho. She died in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, on 3 August 2006.

     b. Carolyn Lee Pressley Hankey (1942–2004) was born in Bonner's Ferry, Boundary County, Idaho, on 4 July 1942. She graduated from Cashmere High School in Chelan County, Washington. Carolyn died on 18 November 2004 in Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana.

     C. Maudie Fay Cook (1895–1964) was born in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri, on 10 October 1895. She grew up in Cass, Douglas County, Missouri, and married her first husband Willard Leslie Pyle (1886–1918) in Lamar on 29 February 1916. She appears to have been his second wife, and they had two sons before Willard's death in 1918.

She married her second husband, the Reverend Ora Clayton Keller (1889–1942) of the Free Will Baptist Church, sometime after 1920. They had a son and a daughter together and raised them in Missouri.

Ora was only 52 when he died in Norwood, Wright County, Missouri in August 1942. He was buried in Denlow Cemetery in Douglas County, Missouri. Maudie moved to San Bernardino, California, to be closer to her daughter. She died there on 17 March 1964. At some point, she married again, as her obituary and her record in the California, Death Index, 1940-1997 give her name as "Maudie Faye McCullough." She was brought back to Mountain Grove, Wright County, Missouri, for burial.

Maudie was survived by her three sons, her daughter (who still survives), six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

     1. Jerry Alfred Pyle (1916–1998) was born in Pittsburg, Crawford County, Kansas, on 23 November 1916. He married Ruth Ann Irvin (1917–2012) about 1938. Ruth was born on 10 December 1917 in Oklahoma to William Norman Irvin (1879–1959) and Sarah E Smith (1884–1959).

Ruth and Jerry lived in Mountain Grove, Wright County, Missouri for many years. Jerry died in Guntersville, Marshall County, Alabama, on 19 September 1998. Ruth died while living at the Marshall Manor Nursing Home in Marshall County on 12 October 2012. They had three sons, two of whom are still living, and were survived by six grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.

     a. Ralph Eugene "Gene" Pyle (1939–2002) was born on 12 August 1939 in Norwood, Wright County, Missouri. Records show he was enlisted in the U.S. Army from 25 April 1973 through 31 January 1977, but his obituary says he retired from "the Army and civil service."

Gene married Reba Lavina Orahood (1939–2007), the daughter of William J Orahood (1894–1984) and Lora L Lewis (1902–1966). Lavina was born on 31 January 1939 in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri, and she and Gene were in the same graduating class at Lamar High School.

Gene died on 17 November 2002 in Arab, Marshall County, Alabama, and Lavina died 7 January 2007 in Warrior, Jefferson County, Alabama. They were survived by three sons and a number of grandchildren.

     2. Willard Leslie Pyle (1918–1983) was born on 9 August 1918 in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri. He was married on 10 August 1940, and his wife is still living. Willard was a carpenter who was sometimes contracted by Laura Ingalls Wilder. He died on 16 February 1983 in Mansfield, Wright County, Missouri.

     a. Willard Leslie Pyle (1941–2011) was born 7 May 1941, in Norwood, Wright County, Missouri. On 25 January 1963, he married Margie Loraine Crossland (1945–2010)  daughter of John and Alta Linder Crossland. Margie was born on 16 April 1945 in Springfield, Missouri.

Willard attended his senior year at Mansfield where he graduated with the Class of 1959. While living in Springfield, he met and married Margie. After she and Willard were married they made their home in Mansfield. Willard was a lifelong carpenter and his work was second to none. He was very particular about his woodworking and anyone who he worked for knew that it would be perfect. Margie was a hard worker and had worked at Tobin-Hamilton Shoe Factory, Ken Ballew Hatchery, Mansfield Nursing Home and was a fourth-grade teacher’s aide in the Mansfield Schools. Her last job was at Mercy Villa in Springfield where she worked for thirteen years.

Margie died on 15 April 2010 in her home near Mansfield, Wright County, Missouri, at the age of sixty-four. Willard died at the age of seventy years on 30 August 2011, also in his home near Mansfield. They were survived by their two sons and eight grandchildren.

     b. Lois Marie Pyle (1943–2008) was born on 23 December 1943 in Macomb, Wright County, Missouri. She married Ferda (Ferd) Hose Kelley (1940–1990), son of Hosea Richard Kelley (1904–1985) and Mary Vietta Hurt (1909–1995).

Ferd was a truck driver, and he died at only 50 years of age on 19 January 1990 and was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Norwood, Wright County, Missouri. Lois died on 12 December 2008 in Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri, and was buried with her husband. They are survived by two sons and four daughters and were preceded in death by one infant daughter, Barbara Jo Kelley (1960).

     3. James Samuel Keller (1923–2001) was born on 27 December 1923 in Cold Springs, Missouri. He was a career military man, with his first enlistment beginning 25 June 1943 and his last ended 31 December 1965. When his mother died in March 1964, he was a sergeant stationed in Germany.

I know from his death record in the Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 database that he was widowed when he died on 14 January 2001 in Hamilton, Ohio, but I have not found an obituary or any other information about his wife. James was buried in Saint Mary Cemetery in Saint Bernard, Hamilton County, Ohio.

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And with that, I need a break! We've only covered three of Lark Robinson Cook's nine children in this post, so we'll continue with the rest in next week's post. If they're all as numerous as this bunch, we may need three weeks to get through them all!

As always, if you've found one or more of your relatives mentioned in this blog, please get in touch. I've had a lot less time to spend looking for descendants of these folks, and I'm certain I've got gaps in my knowledge which some living cousins might be able to fill. If I can't find you, I hope you'll find me!

You can comment below (anonymous comments are usually not as helpful), or email "mightieracorns" at

We now have more ways to reach out:

a Facebook page -
a Twitter feed -
a Ko-Fi cup -

...and if you prefer a private group, we still have the Callin Family History group on Facebook for "cousins only" (there will be a question about how you're related to the family before you can join).

Until next time.... Happy Hunting!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Update: Minerva's Many Names

Hello, cousins!

Today I get to share another breakthrough with you and update part of a post from December 2015. In that post, I described a "brick wall" I ran into when searching for Minerva Callin (b. 1836), daughter of George and Polly Ann (Lewis) Callin, the main couple from Uncle George and the Underground Railroad.
Minerva Callin (1834-1895)

Here is what the Callin Family History had to say about her:
Record of Minerva Callin Smith, who was the eldest daughter of George Callin, who was 2nd son of John Callin, 2nd son of James 1st.
Born in 1836.
Married to John Smith.
To this union four children were born:
Frank; died.
Helen; died.

And here is what I was able to confirm in our original post:

There is a record in the 1860 Federal Census for a family that fits this limited information rather well. They were listed in the village of Harrison, Winnebago county, Illinois. The head of the household is a blacksmith (aptly named) John N. Smith, age 28, born in Ohio. His 26 year old wife, Minerva, and 4 year old son, Frank, were also born in Ohio; 3 year old William J and 1 year old Hellen A were born in Illinois.

Thanks to the detailed enlistment records kept by Illinois, we know that John enlisted in the 74th Regiment of the Illinois Infantry, Company A, in September of 1862. That record confirms his name and middle initial, his occupation, and his 1860 residence, and it describes him as being 5'6", with black eyes, black hair, and a "dark" complexion. He mustered out of the unit in Nashville in 1865.

After that, though, my investigation petered out, and I said, "The name 'Smith' is far too common, even when paired with the other details we have, to zero in on the clues we would need to say anything more certain about Minerva and her family."

I always tell you that I'm happy to correct any errors I might make, and the universe seems happy to provide an endless stream of opportunities for me to prove that! So, here is what I have learned.

Further digging brought me to two Find-A-Grave memorials (now successfully merged) for a John N. Smith, born in March 1830 in Ohio, and died 29 July 1867 in Harrison, Winnebago County, Illinois. He is buried in Phillips Cemetery, Winnebago County. There were two un-sourced bio's which mentioned his wife, one giving her maiden name as "Minerva Keller." That is very close to the way Minerva's name appears on their marriage record:

Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993

Since the pioneer Callin family did not have a high literacy rate until Minerva's male cousins began attending school in the years leading up to the Civil War, I am not surprised to see the name mispelled - in that record, it looks like "Kellon" or even "Kallon" to me, and I don't think anyone involved in making that record, other than the clerk himself, was likely schooled enough in letters to correct him.

The Find-A-Grave bio also said that Minerva remarried a "D. A. Robinson" and moved to Iowa, which gave me some clues to work with. (Look for "Robinson" families with children named "Smith," in other words.) And while none of the evidence I have found is complete or solid enough to give me 100% confidence, here is the rest of Minerva's story, as best as I can tell it.

After the death of her first husband, Minerva was left with five children to raise, the eldest being 11 at the time. (Mary, born about 1866, was not listed in the CFH.) Minerva Smith married Dana A. Robinson (b. 1818) on 14 February 1870 in Winnebago County, Illinois, and moved with children into the home of Dana's parents, Austin and Ann, in Burlington, Coffey County, Kansas. They appeared there on the 1870 Census; also in the household were Adalade (spelled "Adala" on the record) Robinson, age 24, who was likely Dana's daughter from his first marriage, and a farm hand named Henry Clay (no, not THAT Henry Clay) who would later marry Adalade.

Dana and Minerva had two children, a daughter called Lark (born in December 1870) and a son named Frederick (born in 1872). However, their marriage did not survive through the decade, and by 1880 Minerva was remarried and living with her third husband, William Daggett IV (1823–1901) in Silver Creek, Cowley County, Kansas. Their household in 1880 included three of William's sons, Flora Smith (age 18), Mary Smith (age 14), and Frederick Robinson (age 8).

At some point, probably after Frederick was old enough to be independent, William and Minerva moved out to California, where they engaged in at least one real estate transaction in Redondo Beach in 1895.

Not long after that June real estate transfer, Minerva's name appeared in the California, Death and Burial Records from Select Counties, 1873-1987 as having died on 3 September in Fresno County. The following July, another newspaper item tells us that William returned from California to take up residence in Cowley County, Kansas, with his son, George.

William died on 9 April 1901 and is buried in Wilmot Cemetery in Cowley County, Kansas. I have yet to find a record of Minerva's resting place.

As I said, I'm not 100% confident in all of this; the records I would expect to find to confirm pieces of this story are either not available online, or are not turning up in the searches I run (possibly because names and birth dates are recorded differently from what I would expect to see). Add the fact that there are hints of family strife here, with divorces and moves, remarriages and mis-reported names, and I can't be certain that I have the whole story.

But, to give as full an accounting as possible of the descendants of James Callin, here is what little I know about all of Minerva's children.

Children of Minerva and John N Smith:

     I. Franklin Smith (born 1856) appears on the 1860 and 1870 Census records described above. Both records agree that he was born about 1856 in Ohio. That places him in Huron County, Ohio, Winnebago County, Illinois, and Coffey County, Kansas, respectively.

There are at least three distinct men named "Frank Smith" who appear in the 1880 Census with the same approximate birth dates/place, none of whom quite match our Frank Smith. If the CFH is correct that he died before 1911, that still gives us four decades (from 1870 to 1910) in which we might find him. The search continues.

     II. William J "Willie" Smith (born 1857) also appears in the same 1860 and 1870 records as his brother, Frank. Willie was born in Illinois according to both, and the CFH suggests he was still alive in 1911. As with his brother, the search goes on.

     III. Helen A Smith (born 1859) only appears in the 1860 Census, and the CFH record indicates that she died, so it is possible that she died before her father, or at least before Minerva remarried. No record to confirm this has been found.

     IV. Flora C. Smith (born 1862) appears on the 1870 and 1880 Census, in her mother's Kansas households. Both records agree on her age, putting her birth date about 1862, but the earlier record lists her place of birth as Ohio, and the later in Illinois.

     V. Mary A. Smith (born 1866) appears in the same 1870 and 1880 records as Flora, though both records agree she was born in Illinois.

Both Flora and Mary are named as minors in the 23 May 1880 edition of the Winfield Daily Courant, when Minerva filed her annual claim of guardianship over them both. 

With the possible exception of Helen, who may have died before her tenth birthday (thus not appearing with the rest of her family in 1870), any or all of these Smith children may have married and produced numerous progeny. If they did, they may have married in Kansas, followed their mother and step-father to California, or departed for parts unknown.

Children of Minerva and Dana A Robinson:

     VI. Laura "Lark" Robinson (1870–1954) was born on 15 December 1870 in Gridley, Coffey County, Kansas. She married Jeremiah Luther Cook (1843–1919) in 1891, and when she died on 1 December 1954 in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, according to the Kansas City Times, she left behind 89 descendants.

We'll revisit Lark's family in more detail next week.

     VII. Frederick Robinson (born 1872) only appears in one record: the 1880 Census. As I said with his half-siblings, the search continues. Unfortunately for us, there are big gaps in the online records between 1880 and 1900, and few clues to identify which of the hundreds of Fred Robinsons we are looking for.

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As always, if you've found one or more of your relatives mentioned in this blog, please get in touch. You might imagine I am especially eager to find someone who can help me connect the dots with the missing Smith and Robinson children.

You can comment below (anonymous comments are usually not as helpful), or email "mightieracorns" at

We now have more ways to reach out:

a Facebook page -
a Twitter feed -
a Ko-Fi cup -

...and if you prefer a private group, we still have the Callin Family History group on Facebook for "cousins only" (there will be a question about how you're related to the family before you can join).

Until next time.... Happy Hunting!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Some General Announcements

Hello, cousins!

This week, I wanted to make some announcements about things to come, progress on The Book, and some tidying I've done around the blog.

Upcoming Posts:

I have posts planned out through October, starting with the descendants of Great Uncle George's daughter, Minerva, which will take us through the next three weeks. After that, I realized I had skipped two significant branches of the descendants of Elizabeth Callin Montgomery, which we'll cover over the course of the following seven weeks. (Yeah! There's quite a few of them!)

For those new to the blog, or trying to figure out what's going on, I tidied up the page "Revising the CFH" so it's a little more organized and a little more consistent. As I'm drafting future posts, I've been adding them to that "table of contents" so if you hit some dead links, rest assured that they'll all be live by mid-October!

I'm kicking around ideas for more kinds of content (podcast? videos?) and I'm trying to invest more time into contacting local genealogical and historical societies and reaching out to the living descendants of the folks I'm blogging about so they know we're here. (Any help you might offer to contact living cousins would be much appreciated - even if it's just to send me their contact info.)

The Book

I have devoted some time to compiling the first draft, and I think I have some choices to make. If you have an opinion on these choices, I'd love to hear from you.

I'm using RootsMagic's publishing feature to import the rather massive Ancestry tree and push out a (very, very large) Word document. Then, I've organized the book by Generation, using the NEHGS standard (it's similar to the outline format I've started using on the blog).

This means I have some rather short chapters up front - "Generation 1" is James, "Generation 2" is his two sons, "Generation 3" is their children, etc.  Generations 1 through 4 run to about 100 pages, altogether; but then Generation 5 runs to over 360.

Generation 6 is where we begin to see living people - I count three of you in Gen 6 who are still with us! (For whatever it's worth, I'm in Generation 8, and my kids are Gen 9.) I have not begun editing that section, so I don't know what the page count might turn out to be.

Because I have at least 1,281 living people documented on my spreadsheet (which means there are closer to 1,500 living people descended from James Callin) I'm debating whether I should confine the Book to Generations 1-6, with selected biographies from those of you who have already given me permission to include your names in print.

I've also been trying to find the right way to document the sources I have used in my research. Let's just say that the Bibliography promises to be a couple hundred pages... and the footnotes number in the thousands within each chapter. (I estimate there are 10-20 footnotes per page, on average.)

So, to get this thing done and into libraries, where it might have a chance at preserving our family's story, I'm considering different ideas. I think the best plan might be to publish Volume One with Generations 1-5, and plan to follow up with the next three-to-five generations in a few years' time, so I can have a chance to make contact with more cousins and get their help telling the stories of more recent generations.

I haven't made any final decisions, yet, and I need to find out how long the finished product will be before I can determine "how big is too big" with the different available publishing services.

So if you have an opinion, or want to help make this happen faster, please do let me know!

Outside the Blog

I do hope you'll reach out if you have questions or suggestions - I've worked hard to expand my presence on social media, and make this work more "findable" for distant cousins.

You can email "mightieracorns" at

And we have:
a Facebook page -
a Twitter feed -
a Ko-Fi cup -

...and we still have the private/cousins only Callin Family History group.

Most of my work is on Ancestry, where I've tried to make my trees publicly available. If you're looking for more information, you should be able to view these with a free account (let me know if you can't):

Callin Family History - G.W. Callin 1911 - this is where I collect the research behind these posts

The Robert Callin project - my paternal grandpa Bob is the "Home person" of this tree, and while there's a bit of overlap with the CFH - 1911 tree, this is where I will be working on his maternal side in the future.
Surnames include:
  • Simon
  • Berlin (multiple spelling possibilities)
  • Baughman
  • Hale/Hales
  • Greenlee
  • Bollman
  • Waters
  • Walker
  • Bowen
  • Spitler
The Nancy Witter project - my paternal grandma Nancy comes from a couple of interesting and large Pennsylvania Dutch (or at least Protestant German) families, and has at least one line of Scottish ancestry.
Surnames include:
  • Witter
  • Shriver
  • Huff
  • Stroud
  • Murray
  • Bender
The Russell Clark project - centers on my maternal grandpa Russ, with some brick walls I may only be able to bust through if I visit Kentucky.
Surnames include:
  • Clark
  • Bellamy
  • Reynolds
  • West (possibly twice!)
The Alberta Tuttle project - is my maternal grandmother's family; I've been able to find a lot of material, and will need to take some time to make sense of a lot of it!
Surnames include:
  • Tuttle
  • Zindle
  • Plumsted
  • Hart
  • Wells
  • Frey
  • Opp
  • Karcher
  • Welch
  • Palmer
  • Peterson
  • Hoffman

And ALL of the above are documented to some extent on WikiTree. I am "Callin-50" there, and you should be able to see a tree with all of these ancestors here:

I hope to hear from you!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Reed to the End

Hello, cousins!

We've been talking about the children from the second marriage of Elizabeth Belle Ferguson McNabb, and this week, we will finish up by looking at the two younger siblings.

On a personal note, this week is the end of my summer school term, so I'm looking forward to a week of vacation, and having some time to work on the draft of The Callin Family History. I'll have some thoughts to share about how to make that happen (finally!) and I'm interested in hearing from you about what you expect to find in the book. Spoiler alert: it should be a bit like this blog, but on paper and with footnotes.

But to the business at hand - to help you find your place in the tree here's a "map" of this branch of the family:

Elizabeth B. Ferguson McNabb Reed's tree

     VI. Margaret Jane Reed (1870–1952)

Margaret was born on 28 December 1870 in De Kalb County, Indiana, and raised in Jackson Township. On 19 April 1892, she married Francis Marion "Frank" Furnish (1872–1962), son of William H Furnish (1849–1904) and Eva Watson (1840–1874). He was born on 6 January 1872 in Kendallville, Noble County, Indiana.

(It is worth noting that another Francis Marion Furnish was born in Indiana in 1872, to Benjamin and Permelia Burk Furnish; it isn't clear that they are related in any way, but if you go looking for records, be aware that a second Frank Furnish exists!)

Maggie and Frank had a difficult first few years together. Their first son, Basil, died young, but they also had unnamed "infant sons" in 1894, who died in infancy. They are buried Evergreen Cemetery in Auburn. But they did have two children who survived into adulthood, and overcame some early financial difficulties, moving to South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana.

Frank was able to support the family as a salesman, eventually retiring as a hardware store clerk. Maggie died on 3 September 1952 after three weeks of illness. Frank died on 23 November 1962; they are both buried in Saint Joseph Valley Memorial Park in Granger, Saint Joseph County.

     A. Basil Talmadge Furnish (1893–1894) was born in 1893 and died of meningitis in 1894, according to a note on his Find-A-Grave memorial. He and younger, possibly twin, brothers, are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Auburn, De Kalb County, Indiana.

     B. Charles Cecil Furnish Sr (1895–1977) was born on 5 August 1895 in Auburn and served in the U.S. Army during World War I, enlisting from 20 September 1917 to 9 July 1919. He was assigned to Company E of the 309th Engineers, and returned from Marseilles, France, in June 1919.

Cecil married Gayle Agnes Myers (1900–1992) around 1925. She was born in Sedan, De Kalb County, on 17 March 1900 to George Myers (1867–1942) and Emma A Rohm (1871–1944). They raised two daughters and three sons in South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana, before moving to Fort Wayne in the 1950s.

Cecil died in Fort Wayne on 27 March 1977 at 81 years of age. He was buried in Greenlawn Memorial Park in Fort Wayne. Gayle died on 9 May 1992 in  in St. Joseph Medical Center of Fort Wayne, and was buried with her husband.

       i. Mary Catherine Furnish Thomas (1926–2014) was born on 9 June 1926 in South Bend, Indiana, and died on 8 September 2014 in Baytown, Harris County, Texas. She was described as a longtime resident of Baytown, having retired from Baytown Sterling Municipal Library where she worked with the book mobile. She was a member of Faith Presbyterian Church and lifetime member of the Presbyterian Women’s Elizabeth Circle. She served as the church librarian and sang in the choir for many years. She was survived by a daughter, a son, and two grandchildren.

       ii. Betty Lorine Furnish (1928–1967) was born on 15 January 1928 in South Bend and attended John Adams High School in that city. She became a school teacher, retiring in San Francisco. She died in Napa, California, at the St. Helena Sanitarium on 15 August 1967, after battling breast cancer.

       iii. Charles Cecil Furnish (1929–2014) was born on 13 December 1929, and served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. He was a graduate of Purdue University and a retired as a Pharmacist with CVS Pharmacy. He died at age 84 on 22 September 2014 at the Saint Anne Home in Fort Wayne.

       iv. Warren Leroy Furnish (1935–2016) was born on 17 May 1935 in South Bend and died on 23 March 2016, when he was living in Fort Wayne. He was survived by a wife.

       v. Thomas David Furnish (1946–2003) was born on 4 February 1946 in South Bend. He worked at American Electric Power for 25 years and was a U.S. Marine veteran. He was only 57 when he died at his home in Ossian, Wells County, Indiana, on 18 August 2003.

     C. Bernice M Furnish (1898–1979) was born on 10 April 1898. She was a registered nurse and remained single. Her father stayed with her before his death. Bernice died on 30 May 1979 in Fort Wayne.

     VII. Charles Albert Reed (1871–1927)

Born on 2 September 1871 in Auburn, and he lived for many years in the home of his sister, Emma, and brother-in-law, Daniel Moody. He supported himself as a general laborer, and he died at the age of 55 years from heart and kidney disease on 5 June 1927.

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And with that, we have reached the end of this branch of the family tree. Unless we make any more breakthroughs in these older generations, I should be able to start preparing a draft of the revised Callin Family History for publication! That goal has been a long time coming, and I'm looking forward to getting the manuscript ready to go so I can start planning to get it into the hands of as many cousins and public libraries as possible.

Watch for announcements here and on Facebook and Twitter as we make progress.

As always, if you've found one or more of your relatives mentioned in this blog, please get in touch. You can comment below (anonymous comments are usually not as helpful), or email "mightieracorns" at

We now have more ways to reach out:

a Facebook page -
a Twitter feed -
a Ko-Fi cup -

...and if you prefer a private group, we still have the Callin Family History group on Facebook for "cousins only" (there will be a question about how you're related to the family before you can join).

Until next time.... Happy Hunting!